HHS Mandate was just the first step. Here comes a new attack on religious liberty.

Barack ObamaFaithful Catholics have been focused on President Obama’s contraceptive mandate for some time now. But, the fight for religious freedom just entered a new round. Another assault on First Amendment protections just reared its ugly head. News of it broke Monday morning.

Get set, folks. This is serious stuff.

This morning, Buzzfeed – “The Media Company for the Social Age” – broke the news that the White House is drafting an executive order that would bar federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Buzzfeed reported that “the order likely would either amend an earlier executive order signed by President Lyndon Johnson banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin or would be modeled after that order.”

Federal contractors? Discrimination? Sounds uninteresting, right? After all, even the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself claims that LGBT individuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” And, that same Catechism adds that “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC 2358). This new executive order is a hill of beans, isn’t it?

Wrong!

What the Obama White House is doing is drafting another executive order that sends one more sucker punch right into the gut of the American Catholic Church.

Even the left-of-center National Catholic Reporter understands what is at stake. Fr. Thomas Reese claims that “Depending on what exemptions [the executive order provides], the new requirement may affect Catholic Relief Services, Catholic hospitals, Catholic education, and other Catholic charities that received Federal funds.”

Bottom line: The HHS Mandate hit health care workers and institutions. This new assault? Basically, it hits all the rest of the Church’s charitable social services. In other words, the Obama White House is casting the net of its progressive agenda much further and wider this time.

What practical impact could this executive order have? Picture this. A Catholic archdiocesan or diocesan adoption service, that needs federal monies in order to function, announces plans to place children in traditional families comprised of one father and one mother. Such a plan would violate the new executive order being drafted. What happens next? A phone call from the Feds? Burdensome fines? At this juncture, we don’t know. But, perhaps history is prologue.

Fr. Reese reports that “In 2010, the Washington archdiocese … got out of the adoption business when gay marriage became legal in the city. It was also threatened with the loss of funding to help the poor when the city council required that employers with city contracts provide spousal benefits to gay employees. Instead, the charities eliminated spousal benefits for all future employees. Since heterosexual employees would not receive spousal benefits, the agencies could not be accused of discrimination.”

That same scenario has played itself out elsewhere. Fr. Reese notes that, “For example, in 2006, Catholic adoption programs were closed in Massachusetts and San Francisco because the state and city said the agencies could not receive funds if they refused to sponsor children with gay couples.” And, “Dioceses in Illinois pulled out of adoption services for the same reason in 2011.”

To be sure, the new executive order would reawaken an old debate. Fr. Reese observes that “Similar rules at the state and local level have been opposed by the U.S. bishops.” Here’s the kicker, though. When those state and local rules came through the door of political legislation, Catholics could hope to obstruct their passage or later overturn them through legitimate democratic debate and procedures in the halls of government. Now? The Obama White House is preparing to side-step those debates at the federal level.

The Huffington Post stated that “The move is the clearest indication to date that the administration is prepared to take action on LGBT rights where Congress has fallen short.” HuffPo further explained that “Obama‚Äôs plan to draft an executive order comes after years of inaction on this front.” It adds that “The administration has been calling on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal for employers nationwide to fire or harass someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.” But, here comes the deeply troubling point: “The bill passed the Senate, but as it stalled in the House, pressure mounted on the president to act in ways that don’t require legislative approval.” And, now, the Obama White House is preparing to respond to that pressure.

Translation: Obama’s team is gearing up to place pressure on Catholic charitable social services to conform to its progressive agenda. Church services – like adoption agencies – will have to face a choice: Either conform to that agenda or shut their doors for lack of federal financial support. The choices are bleak.

But, have no fear: According to the National Catholic Reporter, the Obama White House claims that “in preparing the order it will listen to all interested parties.” Yeah right! That sounds familiar. We know where that led last time. It led to the Obama team shoving its progressive agenda right down our throats.

So, get set for another big fight. Just like with the HHS Mandate, we’re not going to budge. We refuse to go down without a fight. This is far too important an issue.

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Categories:Religious Liberty

98 thoughts on “HHS Mandate was just the first step. Here comes a new attack on religious liberty.

  1. Former Catholic says:

    If Catholics would support the church, they would not need to take federal monies and would be free to minister in the name of Christ.

  2. Juan says:

    Ok so first of all, Jesus did not say “discriminate others as I have discriminated you.” When slavery existed, when the church had finally become organized, people did not say slavery was wrong; rather, people defended slavery by belittling africans. It wasn’t until recently that we have adopted treating different people equally. This is not different at all for those who want to argue. In arizona, laws similar to the Jim Crow Laws have already been suggested for the lgbt community. I do not know why this is even a dispute today. If you don’t want the government to tell you what to do, stop taking their money. Simple as that. The Church, as Mary said, should be run on contributions from the people. Enough of elaborate churches that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build/repair (cheap cathedrals). Jesus said he is the best offering, the final offering, that we need not offer anything more to him because he IS the perfect sacrifice. We should focus more on the spiritual side rather than the material side. Ever since I can remember, my family, friends, and everyone else has said “God will provide.” Is this what religion has come down to? Taking money from the government? Elaborate services for God where people only come for to show off their best sets of clothes? I have hears dozens of people say they are disillusioned by those who go to Mass yet do the exact opposite of what the whole theme of the Mass was a out. There are so many things that are wrong with the Church. Take the “log out of your eye then help your friend get the stick out of theirs.” There is my five cents

  3. Kevin Gethin says:

    The president is asking catholics to remember that there are others in the world. Others with views and feelings that must be considered. The catholic church is the oldest institution in the world. The RC s have survived just about everything. The church has even survived the greatest scandal of modern times. The sexual abuse of children by priests.

  4. Mark says:

    Right. Because it’s better to take benefits away from straight couples than to extend them to gay couples….

    There’s nothing in the deposit of faith saying “thou shalt only extend insurance benefits to a true spouse.” The archdiocese could easily have just made the provision something like “benefits are extended to any individual you designate” without judgment of the nature of the relationship.

    Sheesh.

  5. pi2r2 says:

    Not to worry too much, as executive orders are not enforceable law. A person, even a president, can’t write a law that is opposed to the law; This numbnut President is infamous for such activity.

    1. TLM333 says:

      He thinks he can, I mean really after all wasn’t he elected ‘King’ of America??

  6. Mae says:

    It does not have anything to do with churches or religious freedom. If you run a business or a non profit you have to follow laws you can’t decide your social service agency is a “church” and then discriminate. You have no “right” to run adoption agencies or hospitals. You don’t have to place children with gay couples or any couples it is not a requirement or a right. It is not different than laws that say you can’t say you wont place children with black couples etc. If birth parents want to chose the religion and placement of their child they CAN. There is nothing stopping birth parents from deciding they want Catholic parents to raise their child,.

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